Tatum and Brown helped the Celtics escape by defeating the Spurs 121–116.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Jason Tatum scored 34 points, including a tiebreaker jumper with 33 seconds left, Jaylen Brown added 29, and the Boston Celtics beat the San Antonio Spurs 121-116 on Saturday.

Boston maintained the NBA’s best record by winning for the sixth time in eight games.

Tatum serenaded “MVP! Best player!” chanting at the end of the first half when attempting a free throw. The All-Star rewarded the Celtics fans in attendance with his highest scoring game since a 38-point loss against Houston on December 27.

Eight players scored in double figures at San Antonio, including 18 points each from Josh Richardson, Zach Collins and Tre Jones.

San Antonio never led the way, but remained close despite the fact that the injured Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Jacob Poeltl were not in the starting lineup.

Richardson and fellow former Celtics player Romeo Langford tied the game with 37 seconds left. After laying Langford with 1:12 left, Richardson hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 116.

Tatum followed, stepping back 13 feet to give Boston the lead and hit the first of two free throws before deliberately missing the second to keep the win.

Tatum and Brown made 25 shots out of 52 together.

Boston was forced to call a timeout four minutes into the third quarter after San Antonio opened the second half 13–3 to close at 71–70. Jones scored seven points in the series, including a three-pointer after Derrick White was called up to play goaltender following a foul by Marcus Smart.

In response, Tatum leaked an open three-pointer. San Antonio drew again by one point, 79–78, but Brown responded with a three-point play.

The Celtics took a 13–2 lead as the Spurs missed their first seven shots of the game before Langford pulled up to the rim due to the layup. San Antonio rallied and tied the game at 30 thanks to a 3-pointer from Richardson with 53 seconds left in the first quarter.


Celtics: Boston lost two games in a row in San Antonio, most recently winning on November 9, 2019 at the AT&T Center. … White was honored before being announced as a starter. White spent his first 4 1/2 seasons with the Spurs after being selected 29th overall in the 2017 draft by Colorado. San Antonio traded White to Boston on February 10 for Richardson, Langford and a first-round pick they used to draft Blake Wesley 25th in 2022.

Spurs: Vassel is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on January 11 in New York City. Coach Gregg Popovich said Vassell likely won’t be back until after the All-Star Game on Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City. … Johnson pulled out with a left hamstring strain during the first half of Friday’s win over Detroit. … Poeltl missed the game with Achilles’ heel bursitis.

Copyright 2023 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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